Luke’s loaner horse Beau went back to his owners last spring, so for a while I was giving him lessons on Stormy. That worked out really well — my good old mare went out of her way to reassure him and build up his confidence. But then she caught a nasty respiratory bug and was under the weather for a couple of weeks, so we decided it was time to put Luke back on Trinket.
They got off to a shaky start — Trinket can be one stubborn little pony if she thinks she can get away with it — but after one scary bolting incident Luke decided he’d finally had enough. From that point on he never let down his guard, never gave her an inch, and she sensed the change and fell reluctantly into line.
A week or so ago Luke decided that it wasn’t enough for him just to bend Trinket to his will. He wanted her to love him. And being Problem Solver Guy, he quickly Came Up With A Plan To Make It Happen.
So now when I go out to feed the horses, he comes with me and gives Trinket a carrot. She’s begun to look for him, and trots up to him with a friendly eagerness that’s very unlike her former surly aloofness.
It makes me happy that Luke wasn’t content with just mastering Trinket, that he wants her affection and willing cooperation. It makes me happy that he thought of the carrot idea on his own and hasn’t missed a single day since he started. And also that he carefully washes each carrot before giving it to her.
I know that right now Trinket’s mostly just loving the carrots. But I hope Luke’s devotion will pay off in the long run, and a real friendship will form to replace the combative relationship they’ve had in the past. And I’m deeply grateful that at the tender age of eight my son has already realized that sometimes the carrot speaks louder than the stick.
Happy Love Thursday, and may we all remember the beauty of the carrot whenever we’re tempted to reach for the nearest stick.